Transferring to Carthage
Moving north to Carthage College after an unfulfilling year at a school in Florida, Jennifer Skarda never felt like an outsider.
“Coming in as a transfer student, I got to see how much Carthage does for its students,” she said. “At my first college, I felt really isolated. It was such a breath of fresh air to come to Carthage, because everybody really cared about your experience.”
Each year, between 120 and 140 students transfer to this four-‐year, private liberal arts college in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
A seamless integration
The Carthage community starts smoothing their transition before the first syllabus is handed out.
Like first-‐semester freshmen, traditional transfer students are encouraged to attend New Student Orientation. They learn how to find things on campus and meet tons of classmates — including the other transfers in their small group activities.
And the college ensures they’ll always have at least one orientation leader who went through the transfer process. In other words, someone who gets it.
“From a personal and practical lens, that person can talk about what things are similar from institution to institution and what nuances are unique to Carthage,” said Nick Winkler, the associate dean of students.
The integration continues with a transfers-‐only version of the 10-‐week College Success Seminar. By the end of the session, their bearings should be set.
For one-‐on-‐one help, new transfer students are paired with an advisor. Depending on the situation, that’s either a dedicated first-‐year advisor or a faculty member in the student’s specific major.
The advising duties go beyond helping with class registration and planning.
“It’s helping students adjust and get involved,” said Kari Brownholland, Carthage’s associate dean of students for advising and student success. “What to do if I don’t get along with my roommate. How to approach professors. What to do if I’ve wanted to be a doctor all my life and now I’m struggling in introductory biology and chemistry.”
Among our transfers, the numbers are split fairly evenly between those living in residence halls and commuters. Everyone gets an early chance to connect, and residential students can count on visits from their hall directors.
“Even though they’re a junior, this might be their first time in communal living,” Mr. Winkler said.
Admissions reps say transferring earlier makes it easier to graduate on time. Among recent Carthage graduates, 95 percent completed their studies in four years.
You don’t have to glue yourself to the study lounge to do it, either. Over her three years at Carthage, Jennifer became a departmental fellow, completed an internship, and led
the DRAFT organization for student graphic designers. Graduating in 2015, she headed for a prestigious master’s program.
Carthage teams compete in 24 NCAA Division III sports, with transfers often playing key roles. Student-‐athletes Jared Helmich (D3baseball.com All-‐America) and Stephanie Korbakes (women’s volleyball) helped their respective teams make strong NCAA tournament runs.
Not such a longshot
Privately, DaQuawn Bruce doubted he was scholarship material. Even when a Carthage admissions rep encouraged him to apply for the full-‐tuition Spring Scholarship, it seemed like a longshot.
“I really thought I wasn’t smart enough,” he said.
Acting on his mother’s persistent advice, DaQuawn tried anyway — and won. After 1 ½ years at a community college in the Chicago area, he transferred to Carthage in 2015.
With majors in political science and French, he’s setting the stage for a career in international law. When the college’s mock trial team advanced to the national championship for the first time in 2016, DaQuawn won an award for best witness.
He also found faculty mentors in unexpected places, like the required Western Heritage course sequence. DaQuawn appreciated instructor Marla Polley’s ability to connect the readings to topics with modern relevance, like cancer and AIDS.
“I’ve only known her for a semester, but it feels like I’ve known her for a really long time,” he said then.
In a rigorous curriculum that covers a broad mix of foundational texts like “The Iliad,” the biblical gospels, and “The Souls of Black Folk,” Ms. Polley still manages to sprinkle in regular icebreakers to loosen up the room full of transfers.
“Whatever unmoored them from their other place, they do come in feeling like fish out of water,” she said. “They’re not new to college or to higher education, but they’re new to Carthage. They’re sort of a unique group.”
By the end of the semester, those Heritage classes tend to be some of the most tightly bonded groups she sees.
Try out the view from here
You can visit Carthage any time, but special Transfer Open House days and regular Transfer Tuesday programs are set up with your needs in mind.
See the full schedule, as well as a four-‐step transfer guide, at www.carthage.edu/transfer or contact the Office of Admissions at email@example.com or 800-‐351-‐4058.